Essay - Privatization of the Prison System and the Impact of the...


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PRIVATIZATION OF THE PRISON SYSTEM AND THE IMPACT ***** THE DIFFERENTIATION OF SENTENCING IN POWDER VERSUS CRACK COCAINE OFFENSE ***** ***** ***** ON AFRICAN AMERICAN OFFENDERS

I. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF THE POLICY

In 1986 and 1988, the U.S. Congress passed federal sentencing laws related to crack cocaine that differentiated the sentences imposed upon defendants in powder and crack cocaine ***** offenses in what is known as the 'Anti-Drug Abuse Act of *****'. These stricter ***** guidelines were p*****sed to address the emerging issue of crack cocaine which was perceived to be."..a social menace that was categorically different from powder cocaine in its physiological and psychotropic effects." Crack ***** is powder cocaine mixed with banking soda ***** then cooked in***** hard rocks, which are then broken up into smaller pieces and sold to those who use the drug by smoking it. Crack cocaine is cheaper than powder cocaine ***** aroused great public concern when it first hit the streets in the United States. According to Alfred Blumstein ***** Carnegie Mellon University, as reported ***** Coyle (2002) in ***** work entitled: "Race and Class Penalties in Crack Coca*****e Sentencing" crack cocaine began as an innovation in the drug market "***** distribution rights *****d boundaries were apportioned amongst competitors with the use of violence." (*****, 2002) The follow*****g table relates ***** median street-level dealer ***** quantities and m*****atory minimum imposed by the Anti-Drug Act of 1986.

***** Street-Level Drug Quantities and M*****atory Minimums

Drug

Median Drug Weight

Mandatory Minimum

Crack Cocaine

52 grams

10 years

Powder *****

340 *****

Source: Coyle (2002

Congress created the United States Sentencing Commission in 1984 for ***** purpose ***** developing federal sentencing guidelines for the purpose of bringing about a reduction ***** sentencing disparity. By 1994 in alliance with provisions set out in ***** Omnibus Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, the ***** was instructed to conduct a study relating to different penalties in *****- ***** crack-coca*****e *****. ***** study lasted the duration of one year with recommendations ***** ***** Commission to the U.S. Congress ***** revise the crack/powder 100:1 sentencing disparity due to findings that due ***** the small differences in the two forms of cocaine ***** such sentencing disparities were not justifiable. Commission advised an equalization (1:1) of the quantity ratio that would require mandatory ***** relating to the ***** forms of cocaine. Commission recommendations included advisement ***** ***** in ***** sentenc*****g should be based ********** criteria other than the type of drug for determination ***** the lengths of sentences. These recommendations were rejected by the U.S. Congress along with refusal to make changes ***** the law and was in fact ***** first such move in the history of the United States Sentencing ***** since its' *****mation. Once again, recommendations were made in April 1997 regarding ***** disparity in sentencing *****tween crack- ***** powder-cocaine that the differential ***** should be balanced through provision of a range of 2:1 to 15:1 for ***** to choose from among. This new recommendation "was based on both raising

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